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Friday, February 29, 2008

A New York Frame of Mind

Morning Commute
Photo by myself on the morning commute. I swear New York has a monopoly on black microfiber.


They say that New Yorkers are pushy and fast talking.

Well, yes.

I've changed from the nice person I used to be, lol. My inner bitch-on-wheels has been awakened over time, in part due to the environment. The anger and angst from daily life builds up and comes out at select times.

It'd be different if I spent these years living on a farm in bucolic Italy, for instance. I'd have another set of personality quirks, but impatience would not be among them.

The bitchiness comes out at work when there's a good reason - when people shirk responsibilities, or when a schedule is disregarded, or when someone is acting unreasonably. Usually I endure months of the above before I finally break, and when I do, it's in the form of a long, pointed email. (Okay, so I'm pretty tame).

I've been around screamers. I've seen people throw wooden blocks at each other after meetings. I've worked under soft-spoken bosses who use the subversive power of social pressure to get their worker bees to produce. There are all kinds.

The New Yorker in me is most obvious when I'm on the phone with people in other parts of the country. Salespeople from the South or West take their time. They're nice! They don't get back to you right away. They leave the office on time or early. They probably own cars and houses and have kids.

It's easy to make generalizations. Not all New Yorkers are intense workaholics or weirdos. A large percentage of us are laid back, nice, friendly and sane.

But chances are, yeah, we're a wee bit more hopped up than folks living elsewhere.


fishwithoutbicycle said...

I often find New Yorkers to be kinder to each other to Londoners, except when they are pushing onto the subway before people can get off the train. Aaaaarrrrggghhhhh!! That makes me want to grab the offender by the scruff of their neck and pull them off to train - one of these days I'll flip and get myself into trouble - Londoners are good about not doing that, tourists do that, but not locals so much.

Kitty said...

oh Fish, I hate that. That's a pet peeve of mine, the kamikaze rush into a train full of defenseless passengers.

It's rude and it holds up the train. Not nice! I want to tap the person on the shoulder and say 'Hello? These are humans you're running into. Are you completely selfish?!'

but usually I'm so astonished I can't say a word. And then I fume.

People are surprisingly nice in NYC, though there are moments of sheer aggression.

Reluctant Blogger said...

I have never been to NY but when I am in London I always find myself switching to city mode and rushing (even when I don't need to) and not smiling at anyone. Here at home I tend to scan faces because I actually expect that I might know someone I suppose and even if I don't people will often smile and say hello whereas in London only loonies do that!

Kitty said...

haha, RB!
no, you must'nt seem loony.

Ming the Merciless said...

From my experience, most people learn to keep to themselves when on the train because only the crazy ones want to interact/talk to you. Seriously, if someone says HI to you on the train for no apparent reason, it usually is because he/she wants something or is a nutcase.

As for people rushing into the train, I don't understand that either. I always set an example by standing to the side of the door and letting people exit first. I find that others will do the same when they see me do that.

Tammy said...

Wow, does that subway look crowded. I've never been on a subway. The closest thing would have to be the Sky Train in Vancouver.

Kitty said...

so Ming, contrary to your nickname you are Merciful? haha.

Subway etiquette is very particular. It's true, the locals seldom talk on the train, and if they do, it's low key. I consider it part of my Living Room, so I keep to myself.

Tammy, the subway can be an experience, especially during rush hour. Have you seen the Seinfeld episode where poor Elaine is on a packed car and you can hear her inner strife? Very realistic, lol

GMG said...

Don't know how I got here, but loved to land on your blog. Of course, I'm suspect, since I usually love everything related to NY (being a visitor, not a resident)... ;))
Pushy and fast talking? They probably are, but I don't mind that much. First, the city is full of foreigners; and second, it has so many beautiful «things» to enjoy... ;)) (and I have some wonderful NY friends, OK)!
Loved to see the pictures of the Blue Water Grill (one of my favourites) and the W Union Square (next time I'll stay there)... ;)
Have a great weekend, hopefully not too stormy!

Kitty said...

thanks for coming by, GMG!
I look forward to visiting your blog.

Mo said...

You're not in Kansas anymore! :) I never realized that we (NYers) were a different breed, until I moved out west. At work their is one other person from NY, many times people just don't get us and some are even envious of the NY "thing" or bond we have.

I could go on and on. Thanks Kitty, I love your blog.

penpusher said...

I read up about New Yorkers before my trip last year, and was prepared for the worst.

However, to the contrary, I found New Yorkers are actually a friendly bunch! Yes, they look like they're always in a hurry and they get really suspicious when you start talking to them, but once you let them know that you are lost (and need help) they're more than happy to turn around and help you out however they can.

Kitty said...

hallo PP!
the idea of New Yorkers giving people the wrong directions, I believe has always been a myth. Maybe one person did it once upon a time, but I can't imagine anyone really doing that.

I'm glad you had a good experience here!

Kizz said...

When you're taking shots on the subway do people ever get ticked off at you for taking their picture? Do they even notice? What do you say if they do?

I don't know if I'd notice if someone took my picture but I'm super paranoid about whipping out the camera in a subway or bus because I'm trapped with those people until the next stop and what if they get mad?

CHEWY said...

I would ride the subway hiding behind sunglasses, tuned out by my Walkman and face buried in a book.

Kitty said...

hi Kizz!
Well, my camera is a Canon G5. It has a nifty LCD screen that swings out and tilts, so I can hold the camera at waist level and look down to take a photo of something straight ahead. It enables candids pretty well.

People usually assume I'm a tourist. I've gotten over looking like one (I used to be a real snob). People don't get angry as much as uncomfy. But usually they don't notice to begin with.

I know you just got a snazzy camera! I'll have to check out your site for pictures. I'm getting an SLR soon and cannot wait.

Hi Chewy!
You sound like the NYer you are/were. You'd blend into the crowd.